Installing a Radiator by yourself can be a fun and exciting DIY project.
Every detail in your bathroom is just as important as the other, from purchasing the best-sized shower enclosure or picking the most suitable bath to the more minor details such as the Tap design. Once you have narrowed down the brand or design of your new Bathroom Radiator, one of the tasks you can do is install the Radiator yourself.
While seeking a professional to install the Radiator, if you're uncomfortable installing it yourself or find the task quite daunting, you could save time and money if you do it yourself.
Can I install a Radiator myself?
Absolutely! If you've set yourself a DIY project for renovating your bathroom, the challenge of installing a new Radiator is one of the easier jobs you can do. You can avoid any unnecessary mess and complications with the right tools and a hint of patience (and if you follow our easy-to-use instructions).
Is it easy to install a Radiator?
If you are swapping your Radiator like-for-like (meaning the size is the same as your old design), it's a fairly straightforward job with a touch of elbow grease and some measuring and drilling skills.
Installing a radiator can be done in a few hours and even less if there are two of you (depending on the room size!).
Where can I install a Radiator in my bathroom?
If your home is an older property, we advise installing the Radiator in the coldest part of the room, usually under a window. However, most modern homes have double-glazed windows, so it will be acceptable where the Radiator is installed.
Depending on whether the chosen design is floor or wall-mounted, it's always best to mark out the area before installation. For example, if installing a Reina Vicari Vertical Aluminium Radiator, try making a rough cardboard cut-out and positioning it on the wall. Does the door open correctly near the Radiator, and do you have enough floor space for navigating around your bathroom? Does your wall look cluttered if you wish to install a Mirror Cabinet or a Bathroom Mirror?
Why are some radiators installed under windows?
In a room with single-glazed windows, installing the Radiator under the window is more efficient due to conduction. This combats the penetrating cold that enters the bathroom. When the Radiator is switched on, the hot air that is produced and released rises, hitting the cold air that enters from the window. In addition, radiators under windows can prevent condensation around the bathroom.
You may notice that most modern homes and new builds have radiators and Heated Towel Rails installed on various parts of the bathroom wall. This is because double-glazing windows are much more energy efficient than older ones.
Can I change a Radiator to a Heated Towel Rail?
Yes! Changing a radiator to a heated towel rail is relatively easy if you use the existing pipework. If you use the same pipework, this will significantly reduce the time and money spent on installation. Heated Towel Rails plumb straight into the water system like all radiators. In general, heated towel rails are used in smaller bathroom suites or cloakrooms, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.
What else needs replacing when installing a new Radiator?
Nothing else needs replacing if you're installing the Radiator onto the existing pipework. Choose a radiator design with identical pipe centres. If you wish to install the Radiator on a new part of the bathroom wall, you must reorient your new valves. We advise getting a qualified plumber to do this.
Before you install a Radiator:
There are one or two preparations before installing your new Designer Radiator.
What type of pipes do you have in your home?
The type and size of pipework can determine the kind of Radiator you can install in your home.
Copper/ Pipe Work: The main types of pipes in your home are constructed from Copper or Plastic. However, some older heating systems may use steel or lead pipes. Modern installations generally use copper for its durability and excellent heat conductivity. Plastic pipework is often used in homes with Underfloor Heating as it's easy to install and light to carry.
Microbore Pipework: Pipe sizes smaller than 15mm in diameter are known as Microbore Pipework. This pipework comes in 6, 8, 10 and 12mm. A small pipe gauge would have been fitted with the initial heating system (typically on older properties). Small-volume pipes carry less water through the home but at a higher pressure, which means increased stress could be brought onto the boiler if the Radiator has been replaced, not the pipe gauge.
To summarise, adding a new Radiator that's too large for small gauge pipes can cause:
- Your boiler to close down due to the internal temperature being too high (not enough water flow)
- Increased wear and tear in your valves
- The heating system can develop faults over time
Check the Walls:
Have you ever checked what type of bathroom wall you have? The quickest way to find this is to knock on it! If the noise is loud and hollow, the wall will be made from plasterboard or a drywall/ stud wall design. This means you must locate where the studs run with a stud finder. The studs are the sturdiest part of the wall, meaning the Radiator can be installed on them.
If the knock is dull with no echo produced, the wall is masonry/ brickwork. You will have free reign to install it with your required design.
Finally, check for any cracks or crumbling where the old Radiator is. This may have to be repaired before installing your new Radiator.
Turn off Supplies:
Turn off your central heating system before installing the Radiator. If the heating system has been on, wait for the Radiator and water to cool down completely.
Get the right tools:
Below is a list of tools you may need to complete the job:
- Adjustable wrench/ spanners
- Drip tray or large container
- Radiator bleed key or flat-headed screwdriver
- Old towels/ rags
- Stud finder
- Digital detector
- Large Allen key
- Wall plugs/ screws
- Electric drill
- Radiator Corrosion Inhibitor (Optional)
- Steel wool
- PTFE Tape (also known as Thread Seal Tape)
Step 1: Isolate the old Radiator by closing off each valve at the end of the Radiator. If the Radiator has manual valves, turn them clockwise until they can't turn further.
If the Radiator Valves are thermostatic, turn to Zero/ Off, and if you have a lockshield valve, remove the plastic cover and turn the square shaft clockwise (use an adjustable spanner). Ensure you note how many turns are required to easily reset the new Radiator to the same flow.
Step 2: Place the tray beneath the valves to catch the water that drains away. Only a little water will initially appear as some of the air needs to be removed. Use the adjustable spanner to loosen the swivel nuts that connect the valve to the Radiator.
If the tray fills up to quickly, close the top valve to stop the flow or have a second bowl ready. Be patient, as this may take some time.
Step 3: Open the bleed valve on the top of the old Radiator and loosen the cap nut. Lift the Radiator away from the brackets and tilt it to drain any water.
Mop up any spilt water with an old cloth or rag. Stuff some old cloth into the opening to prevent excess water from draining into the room.
Next, remove the valve tails and apply the PTFE tape to the threads to keep the seal intact. We recommend between 5 – 10 times to ensure a watertight seal.
Step 4: If the existing brackets aren't compatible with the new Radiator, unscrew these and, if required, fill in the drill holes to make way for the new ones.
Step 5: After checking what's behind the wall and that it's safe to drill, mark out the new bracket holes and begin to drill and plug (hammer the plugs in before the screwing). Screw the brackets and ensure they are level with the Spirit Level.
Step 6: You're now ready to hang your new Radiator! Place the bleed valve and valve tails back into the new Radiator, tighten all of the nuts and return the lockshield and control valves that were isolated from draining the Radiator. Reopen all valves and open the bleed valve slightly to let any trapped air out.
You should hear the Radiator gurgling when it fills up with water. If not, check that all valves are opened correctly.
Step 7 (Optional): Add the Radiator Corrosion Inhibitor to your new Radiator. This prevents any sludge from being produced when the water comes into contact with the metal.
Step 8: Turn your central heating system back on and enjoy the heat from your new Radiator!
Why Choose Showers to You to Purchase your Radiator?
With a vast collection of brands, sizes and styles, Showers to You has the ideal Radiator to suit your household requirements. With over 38 years of experience in the industry, our website is the best place to find the best Radiator for you.
All of our Radiators are provided by esteemed suppliers, including full manufacturer's warranties, so you can be free to shop confidently.